This fall, the council took up the task of writing a mission statement for the ministry -- a statement both to describe who we are and to express where we wish to go. Generating this statement involved sitting down as a group and deciding what the primary characteristics of our campus ministry are and should be. I felt that it would be helpful to all of those who were not at that meeting to hear what we said.
We begin the statement with the phrase "exploring faith while pursuing knowledge," since the primary role of campus ministry is to help students to develop their faith and the spiritual part of their lives while they are at the university developing the academic part of their lives. This provides a necessary balance to the life of the student, who might otherwise simply absorb some of the wealth of knowledge of the university without placing it in a moral and spiritual context. Neglecting to nurture both sides is like a bodybuilder only working on one group of muscles -- while it might give him firm muscles in that area, when the time comes to put those muscles to actual use they suffer because the support from the other muscles is lacking.
The next phrase in the statement, "discovering the wonders revealed by the coming of Christ into our daily lives," addresses the second part of the personal dimension which campus ministry tries to develop. In this, we go beyond exploring faith simply as a companion to knowledge and bring the two together into our everyday existence. Once we bring these two together, we begin to see how faith and knowledge find their true unity in Christ, and how, when brought together in Christ, they can serve as a bright light to illuminate and reveal the vast wonders of the world around us.
Next our statement focuses on the aspects of community within our campus ministry. If this aspect of the ministy was not important, then there would be no point in having a formal ministry and we could all explore these issues on our own. Community is what provides us with the support to dare to make these explorations and discoveries, though, and as such is a vital part of our daily lives. As a ministry we recognize this, and dedicate ourselves to serving as this community for all who wish to join us, regardless of age, race, sex, or sexual preference, and respecting the differences in faith experiences and beliefs that people have. In this way we hope to serve as a truly inclusive community within the context of the university setting.
Our statement concludes by identifying the two main tasks of our community, "building up one another in love and reaching out to others in service." This is the mission of the Church in general, but we also take it as our own. Here we pledge ourselves to being about the process of improving the situation of others, both within our own community and out in the world. This is made possible through the support of the community, helping us to apply the faith we have developed in our own lives.
I invite all of you to come and experience the ministry and see for yourselves how we work at giving life to these words. If you would like to find out more about us, feel free to give me a call or to drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in Christian love and service,